Last month in Pakistan was eventful; I suppose this would be an understatement. It was beyond expectations for many who don’t watch the news lines very closely or follow the factors emerging around the news. When Admiral Mullen let the cat out of bag it was not unexpected completely for me, as I knew in hindsight that such things would come out one day or the other. As far as US Pakistan relations are concerned I think I knew it right after 9/11 that such a day would come. My nightmare started when Obama started issuing some childish pre election statements right at the beginnings, that my boss Azhar Abbas who is now heading Geo tv said should be ignored as they do not matter. It was also unimportant because in the presence of heavy weights Obama was never taken serious. When he stood at his inaugural day I knew the bad days are approaching fast.
When I say this I believe it is important to understand the history of US Pakistan relations in detail. Last time when we were ditched it was another Clinton leading the same Democrats who abandoned Pakistan and even put sanctions on it. When Pakistan decided to side with US, Pakistanis realised that the time is fast approaching when they will see the US departing once again. When US decided to leave Afghanistan after USSR Pakistan was left to deal with the mess, the narcotics trade, drugs, weapons, stingers and above all the Mujahideen who were well trained, enthusiastic, ready to kill brain washed fighters. Pakistani establishment half-heartedly started listening to US but under strong threats as expressed by Musharraf in his book. Pakistan right from the beginning advised US to be cautious towards those who they have built together over the years, the Mujahideen of Afghan Jihad. US on the other hand wanted to go all they way which they did eventually leaving Pakistan with no choice but to make the U turn.
I believe with this attitude Pakistanis knew they are going to face the same once again what they did after USSR demise. I also believe the strategic partnerships were built in order to avoid a complete fallout in US Pakistan relations. The Haqqanis, the peace jirgas, the foot dragging regarding attack in Pakistani tribal areas were all part of what I call the strategic contingency planning. Pakistan knew that US is not serious about Afghanistan as much as it is about other interests it has, it also knew that Afghanistan was not a priority but a liability only because Osama Bin Laden happened to be there when 9/11 happened. I could see American administration wishing if for any reason if Osama could have moved to Iraq that would have made their lives so easier. Unfortunately this was not the case, but with all the war, the attacks and killings one thing that always lingered in between both allies and partners (as they preferred to call themselves) was the deep mistrust. On the front it was not obvious as Musharraf had a way of dealing things that unfortunately was not the case with his successors. I also think with an ever-increasing insecurity Pakistan looked at sides and started developing its own exit plans, beyond US and ISAF. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan and Afghanistan has to co exist with Taliban good and bad both. US have its own interests and a very deep fear that if they leave Afghanistan abruptly their victims in Afghanistan might chase them to their homeland. This puts both sides in a seriously catch 22 situation.
Pakistan is embroiled at double ends; it is fighting a war within its own boundary as well as with forces beyond its boundary and control. The second part of this fight is where it has failed to del with its targets head on. I believe those who accuse Pakistan of deception need to look hard on the facts I stated above. This deception is not unjustified if we look hard and fast on these issues facing Pakistan. No matter how much I doubt the ability of the president of Pakistan but when he wrote in Washington post he stated some key facts for the world to read and understand. I also believe that the world knows those facts but prefers to ignore them rather than taking them into account. With regard to this current skirmish between Pakistan and US over Afghanistan and all the hue and cry surrounding it. I would only say that Pakistani media is just lowing it out of proportion to start with Secondly it is another Raymond Davis saga revisited and those anchors who are screaming at top of their voices, on Pakistani airwaves are the same who predicted a lot and left in the middle then and would face the same now. They are pawns used and abused and yet have the courage to come and face the camera again. They will continue to pollute our airwaves while this skirmish will evaporate in thin air.
The fact of the matter is that the issue is not Rabbani or Haqqani or the US embassy attack it is far deeper and complicated. No one really understands that such stupid childish actions from Americans and the hue and cry from Pakistani media puppets is absolutely useless and is very dangerous. What is needed now more than ever is for Pakistan and Afghanistan to sit down and engage in an extensive composite dialogue ranging from all the issues and settle them once and for all? It has to be done without US and it has to be done as soon as it could be. This will improve the overall situation in the region and would solve the myth about having or not having Taliban on board these discussions. It will also bring both sides to a mutual point regarding good Taliban and bad Taliban.
For United States I believe it is good time to unfold, and follow its schedule as that is what it has always done, ditched partners and allies in the middle, left mess behind and sanctioning its friends whenever it wanted. I personally don’t think US hue and cry matters at all in this regard as it is only trying to pressurise its way into the regional politics where Afghanistan and Pakistan have started taking radical steps for their own benefits themselves and the need for an American policeman is eroding with ever passing day.
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